LIFE Project Cover Photo

Restoration of dune habitats in Natura 2000 sites of the Veneto coast

Reference: LIFE16 NAT/IT/000589 | Acronym: LIFE REDUNE



Despite the inherent value of dune ecosystems for both human society and biodiversity, the relevant habitats have been subject to a long history of unsustainable exploitation and mismanagement. This is mostly due to a general lack of awareness about the environmental problems associated with coastal dunes, which include habitat loss, spread of invasive alien species, and degradation due to tourism and recreational activities as the main threats. As a consequence, both dune biodiversity and related ecosystem services are negatively affected, with the result that the resilience of plant communities is decreased and native species are threatened.


The LIFE REDUNE project’s overall aim is to restore and maintain the ecological integrity of a full set of dune habitats listed in Annex I of the Habitats Directive, along with the populations of Stipa veneta, an endangered plant endemic to the dunes of northeast Italy, which is listed in Annex II of the directive as a priority species for conservation. The objective is to guarantee the ecological restoration of the coastal dunes of four Natura 2000 network sites along the North Adriatic coastline. For this purpose, 91.5 ha of shifting dunes will be restored using natural engineering techniques and around 82.3 ha of transition and fixed dune habitats will be restored and duly managed. The habitat restoration process will be facilitated by the planting of 151 000 native plants (including 1 000 belonging to the Stipa veneta species) and the removal of invasive alien species (e.g. Oenothera stucchii). Additionally, 985 m of boardwalks and 9 300 m of fences will be built to regulate public access to the beaches. This is expected to favour the habitats’ natural dynamics and recovery; and to mitigate the risk of negative interference by people, combined with networking and communication actions.

Specific objectives:

  • Restoration of 91.5 ha of five coastal dune habitats of EU interest and doubling of the global population of the priority species Stipa veneta;
  • Reduction of human impacts inside the Natura 2000 network sites;
  • Development of responsible behaviour towards dune ecosystems, including appropriate consideration of their sustainable use, by the key stakeholders; and
  • Replication and transfer of the expertise and methods developed within the project to similar contexts.
  • Expected results: The restoration of 91.5 ha of sandy coastal dunes, including five habitats of EU interest, of which three are priority habitats. Specifically:

  • Reconnection of 3 000 m of sandy dunes;
  • Restoration of 91.5 ha of shifting dune habitats, by planting 35 000 plants;
  • Restoration of 82.3 ha of fixed dune habitats of which: 28.5 ha of grey dunes habitat by planting 45 000 structural plants, 18.3 ha of coastal dunes with Juniperus species by planting 55 000 plants; and 35.5 ha of wooded dunes habitats by managing woods and planting 15 000 plants;
  • Control of O. stucchii on 15.0 ha;
  • A quantitative database on the ecosystem services provided by sandy coastal dunes;
  • Construction of 985 m of boardwalks;
  • Erection of 9 300 m of fences; and
  • 11 public outdoor information points.


    Reference: LIFE16 NAT/IT/000589
    Acronym: LIFE REDUNE
    Start Date: 01/09/2017
    End Date: 31/03/2022
    Total Eligible Budget: 2,005,384 €
    EU Contribution: 1,203,230 €
    Project Location:


    Coordinating Beneficiary: Universit Ca Foscari Venezia
    Legal Status: PAT
    Address: via Dorsoduro 3246, 30123, Venice,
    Contact Person: Gabriella Buffa
    Email: Send Email
    Website: Visit Website

    LIFE Project Map



    • Coastal


    • endemic species
    • coastal area
    • endangered species
    • coast protection


    • Directive 92/43 - Conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora- Habitats Directive (21.05.1992)
    • COM(2011) 244 final “Our life insurance, our natural capital: an EU biodiversity strategy to 2020” (03.05.2011)


    • 2110 - Embryonic shifting dunes
    • 2120 - Shifting dunes along the shoreline with Ammophila arenaria ("white dunes")
    • 2130 - Fixed coastal dunes with herbaceous vegetation ("grey dunes")
    • 2250 - Coastal dunes with Juniperus spp.
    • 2270 - Wooded dunes with Pinus pinea and/or Pinus pinaster


    • Stipa veneta


    Type Code Name
    SPA IT3250003 Penisola del Cavallino: biotopi litoranei
    SCI IT3250013 Laguna del Mort e Pinete di Eraclea
    SCI IT3250033 Laguna di Caorle - Foce del Tagliamento
    SPA IT3250032 Bosco Nordio


    Name Type
    Universit Ca Foscari Venezia Coordinator
    Agenzia veneta per l’innovazione nel settore primario, Italy Participant
    Regione del Veneto - Struttura di Progetto Strategia Regionale della Biodiversità e dei Parchi, Italy Participant
    EPC - European Project Consulting s.r.l. unipersonale, Italy Participant
    SELC Società Cooperativa, Italy Participant